Switching to NuShell

Wed, 15 Mar 2023

3 minutes


I have using BASH and ZSH for a long time now, spent most of my early days using exclusively bash, and then moved onto ZSH a couple of months ago. I used its capabilities to the fullest, loading compinit, syntax highlighting, auto-suggestions and some other programs I had installed were also being initialised here. The programs were:

I have mentioned my zsh config multiple times now. You can check it out, along with all my other configurations in my dotfiles repository.

Startup time

My main reason for moving onto nushell was the startup times. ZSH always took more than half a second to open up. Although it wasn’t an immediate issue. It was something that I needed to address at some point. I never leave terminals open, and don’t use a terminal multiplexer like tmux, but open and close the terminal very frequently so I noticed it quite a lot. I didn’t want to go back to bash, since I had some time and wanted to explore something new.

ShellTime taken (10 launches)

I used time zsh -i -c exit to test the startup times.

(Let me know if there is a better way of testing the start times in the comments)

Completion system

Hopping into nushell, I thought I was going to be dissappointed in the completion system. Boy was I every wrong!! The configuration hinted me to look at carapace - “a multi-shell multi-command argument completer” for completion. Installation was pretty straight forward from the projects README. It surprisingly hasn’t failed me a single time so far, and is quick and snappy 😋.

Alternatives to popular POSIX programs

I am now on a road to convert as many programs as I can to those written in Rust/C or something that is blazingly fast Here is the list of alternatives that I use, that are either written in Rust or is compatible with nushell.

If you have any alternatives that I haven’t heard about, let me know in the comments!


I have really enjoyed using nushell, and will be using it as my system shell from now on. I’m not sure if I’ll be changing all my shell scripts since they work and its currently using DASH which is much faster than bash/ZSH could ever be.